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Prospective Freshmen

1. Apply to JMU 

Visit JMU Freshman Application Requirements to learn more about the university’s application process.

2. Apply to the School of Art, Design and Art History

You must be artistically admitted to SADAH by submitting a portfolio to declare Art BFA, Architectural Design BFA, Graphic Design BFA, and Industrial Design BS as your major. Prospective students interested in SADAH’s Art BA, Art BS or Art History BA degrees are not required to submit portfolios for artistic admissions consideration.

Portfolio Information

A portfolio is a showcase of your work that expresses your versatility, skills, and artistic voice. The portfolio review process is designed to assess your potential growth as a student and is required for both artistic admission to the school and your major.

Portfolios are reviewed for evidence of four criteria:

  • Technical Skills
  • Inventiveness
  • Expressiveness
  • Handling of Design or Composition

Show your versatility. Include work that displays your ability to apply your talent and vision across different types of media. Try to include both 2D and 3D pieces.

Show us your skills. Demonstrate your techniques, knowledge of composition and drawing ability. Try to include the pieces that show your highest level of craftsmanship and skill. 

Show us your artistic voice. How do you use materials to communicate your ideas? Include examples of how you see issues from multiple viewpoints, what makes your art unique to you, how you express your artistic identity

  • First-year student portfolios should have 10-12 artworks created in the past two years. Transfer and change-of-major students should provide 12-16 artworks.
  • You can include a broad range of mediums in your portfolio, including paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture, photography, digital art, design, and woodworking, among others. 
  • Images (up to 5MB each), Video (up to 250MB each), PDFs (up to 10MB each), and Models (Sketchfab) are accepted. You may also link to media from YouTube and Vimeo.

Studio or design projects based on copying content from the internet, social media, magazines, etc. are discouraged.

All students are required to apply through the Office of Admissions.  Students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Architectural Design, Art, Graphic Design or a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design must submit an additional application (including a portfolio) to be artistically admitted into the School of Art, Design & Art History. 

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art or Art History or Bachelor of Science degree in Art are not required to submit an additional application or portfolio for artistic admission. 

If you are pursuing a degree that requires the additional application, submit it through SlideRoom.  Your additional application and portfolio are due by the following deadlines:

First-year Portfolio Deadlines

  • Early Action applicants – Friday, November 8 
  • Regular Decision applicants – Monday, February 3

Transfer/Change of Major Portfolio Deadlines

  • Spring 2025 applicants – Friday, October 18
  • Fall 2025 applicants – Friday, March 7

Portfolio Feedback Days are an opportunity to meet with faculty, learn about your chosen major, and take a tour of the school. SADAH faculty will look at your portfolio with you in a private session and give advice on which artworks to keep and what to work on. They also will talk with you about your artistic and professional goals and current art-related activities like exhibits, clubs, or awards. Admission decisions are not made during Portfolio Feedback Days.

Attending an on-campus or virtual Portfolio Feedback Day is required for consideration for SADAH merit scholarships and is highly recommended for admission Registration will close one week prior.

To be considered for any SADAH merit scholarships, students pursuing Art BFA, Architectural Design, Graphic Design, or Industrial Design programs must attend a Portfolio Feedback Day. SADAH Merit Scholarships vary in amount up to the full cost of tuition.

For scholarship consideration, students should

  1. Apply Early Action to JMU
  2. Attend a Portfolio Feedback Day prior to Jan. 25
  3. Submit via Slideroom one letter of recommendation, an arts resume and a 300-word (max) essay describing the merits of one of your pieces

Students seeking scholarship consideration in the Art History, Art BA, or Art BS programs should contact Records & Recruitment Specialist Michael Penney.

Please go to the Cost of Attendance Calculator to see the estimated cost of attendance for your program of study.

Ready to Submit?


When your portfolio is finalized, click and read carefully before uploading your digital images.



Contact SADAH's Recruitment & Records Specialist Michael Penney for questions about the artistic admissions process, scheduling a tour, attending SADAH events, and more!

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